Hardly a day goes by that a news story isn't reported in the
print and broadcast media about the health care crisis in America and the millions of people who don't have any or
adequate health insurance.
As a result, many of these folks avoid or skip routine and more
serious healthier appointments and many simply don't go a doctor at all unless it is an absolute
It's no wonder that millions of dogs are similarly
uncovered . If we have a health crisis there are facilities and hospitals that will treat us, even admit us for
hospitalization without a lick of insurance. Even a homeless person can show up at county supported hospitals and
are readily admitted when called for.
Not so for Fido. Veterinarians are frequently reluctant to
admit a pet for care unless payment arrangements have been made by the pet guardian. This is not as unfeeling as it
may seem. Serious illnesses and/or injuries can cost thousands of dollars in time, resources,and medication.
Once treated, there is no recourse for collecting an unpaid bill from the pet that the vet has as an option. So the
only choice is to insist on payment at the time of service from the pet guardian.
In Dog's tale
I related the story of my best friend of 8 years, Bri, a sweet, loyal and
loving Chihuahua-Pomeranian mix that we had adopted from a local animal shelter. Bri's unexpected illness cost
several thousand dollars.
If confronted with the same sort of healthcare crisis again for
any of my dogs I would gladly hand over the last dollar I could beg, borrow or steal.
After Bri's passing I began to think about all the dogs whose
lives had been shortened and the families that had been cheated out of the best years that they could have
The Tragic Result
Because many dog lovers simply don't have the funds to pay
for veterinary care, many a serious illness is left untreated, many a loving dog is euthanized as an
"economical alternative" and many more dogs die an untimely and early death that is avoidable with a little
I swore then that I would so anything and everything possible
to get the word out and help people prepare for regular health care bills from the vet and unexpected illnesses and
emergencies which could be financially catastrophic.
You Don't Have to Learn the Hard Way
The Dog Health Insurance Solution
A number of alternatives are readily available with a little
planning. Insurance is just one of them.
Save ahead- Set up a special savings account that is not to be touched for any reason other
than doggy health care. Treat it like the old fashion Christmas Clubs that banks used to offer working
families forty years ago. make a commitment to save a certain amount, say $1000. within the next 12 months.
Every month deposit $85 and you will meet your goal with a little to spare. Don't cheat and don't skip
months. If you think something else is more important just take a look at your pal wagging his tale and ask
yourself if his life is worth the effort
a credit card that is to be used ONLY for veterinary visits
and emergencies. Get as high a limit as you can...you're not going to use it unless you have to
Make arrangements now with your veterinarian for
a payment plan. Discuss how much you can pay at office visits and how much you can pay if there is
an emergency. And be clear as to how you will pay the balance. For example, I can pay at least $100. if we
come in for an emergency and $100. per month on the balance until paid. The vet will be your creditor at
that point so it is important to be clear and sincere. Many vets will work with you. If yours doesn't, you
may need to see another vet. No matter how wonderful your vet is, he/she can't help your pet if money keeps
you away from the front door of the animal hospital.
Some veterinary offices maintain an emergency fund to care for dogs in need. Ask your vet if they have such a fund and if you
qualify if the need arises.
Non profit organizations such as
Help-a-Pet provide financial assistance for those unable to pay. Check
with your local animal shelter, rescues and ask your vet for any information about other such groups in
Discount plans such as Pet Assure,
our preference,exist which are less costly that regular insurance
programs and can help take the bite out veterinary bills
Insurance- Not a new phenomenon, dog
health insurance has been available for almost 20 years. Similar to human insurance policies;
annual premiums, deductibles, and different coverage plans based on what the owner chooses.
Plans are based on age, pre-existing conditions,
species and other factors. Coverage can begin for young puppies under 2 months of age or younger and may
cease to be eligible for dogs not insured by their 8th birthday.
Some companies will insure dogs with pre-existing
Prices vary depending upon coverage and plans much as
for human insurance. Coverage can be limited to accident and illness or can be as inclusive as to cover
regular office visits. Be sure to ask about mult-dog discounts.
Health insurance or benefit coverage is essential to
your dogs longevity. Jennifer Stone Information Specialist,University of Illinois,College of Veterinary
Medicine tells us thatPet Insurance May Help Keep Pets Healthy. Read the
article, then take action Today!